Outstaffing vs. Outsourcing: What’s the difference?​

Outsourcing vs. Outstaffing: two Models for the Externalisation of IT Development

The software industry is growing. While the industry’s turnover in Germany in 2010 was 15.6 billion euros, it is expected to almost have doubled to 27.6 billion euros by the end of 20201. The IT market is looking for skilled experts. The search for employees for the IT department who are well trained and at the same time affordable and fit in with the company is causing increasing headaches for HR staff. A rising number of companies of all sizes are outsourcing the development of the solutions they need. Different business models deal with delegating the development of software solutions from one company to another. Outsourcing and outstaffing are two different concepts to consider when deciding to outsource IT development.

by Feras Tanan

Head of Outstaffing at L-One Systems Feras Tanan with team members
Feras Tanan, head of the Outstaffing Team since 2018, holds IT degrees from both Damascus and Darmstadt Universities. He has been living in Darmstadt since 2015, from where he looks after the L-One employees in Damascus.


When outsourcing software development, a company hires another company to carry out a project from A to Z. The client is not involved in the development process. He neither leads the development team nor does he supervise the development process or solve technical difficulties if they occur. This approach is best suited to non-technical companies without in-house know-how. The finished solution is purchased.
If required, the company can set up an operational interface to the outsourcing provider with an IT project manager and receive regular updates.

»The entire management of hiring, leading and training the remote development team is the responsibility of the the service provider for outsourcing as well as outstaffing.«

Lionel Born, Founder and CEO of L-One Systems

Before starting an IT project, the arguments for or against outsourcing and outstaffing should be considered. This consideration can make a decisive contribution to the success of the project.

Pro Outsourcing

    • no management efforts for recruitment, administration, training, or further HR activities are required by the client
    • no technical supervision by the contractor required
    • use of the latest technology during development is guaranteed, as the outsourcing provider is a specialized IT company

Contra Outsourcing

    • no direct control over the development team and development process
    • no development of in-house know-how for software solutions
    • higher costs for the client are incurred for outsourcing in comparison to outstaffing


In outstaffing, a company expands its internal development team with the development services of an outstaffing provider. The client concludes a contract with the outstaffing service provider for the provision of remote developers. As with outsourcing, with outstaffing, the client does not have to employ its own staff. The outstaffing service provider takes over the human resource management. The selection and management of the remote developers and the time frame, on the other hand, are technically managed by the client and the remote team is available to him within the agreed time frame. The client is responsible for structuring the development process and distributing tasks to the remote developers.

Outstaffing Process Graphic @L-One Systems
With outstaffing, the client’s In-House developers connect to the development team of the outstaffing provider ensuring a close cooperation

Companies are increasingly working with outstaffing teams instead of hiring their own developers. On the one hand, outsourcing the time-consuming organizational management for the additional developers relieves the company’s own HR management. This eliminates hiring procedures, induction, training, payroll, accounting, ensuring employee satisfaction – and last but not least, fixed costs. 

On the other hand, the outstaffing process means that highly qualified, yet affordable developers are available very quickly. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Outstaffing

Serious outstaffing service providers offer access to a large pool of certified developers with a wide range of specialist areas (IT stacks).

Head of Outstaffing bei L-One Systems Feras Tanan
The L-One outstaffing team in Darmstadt consists of IT developers who quickly provide qualified developers from the offshore team.

Pro Outstaffing

    • no management efforts for recruitment, administration, training, or other HR activities are required by the client
    • no technical supervision by the contractor required
    • Use of the latest technology during development is guaranteed since the outsourcing provider is a specialized IT company

Contra Outstaffing

    • Additional effort for setting up a development process followed by both the internal and the external development team and interlinking both in a productive way.

Outsourcing und Outstaffing at L-One

For our customers, we want to align the outstaffing experience with the processes of their internal developers. We use the same set of tools for communication between our clients and their internal developers, including Slack, Microsoft Teams (including the various Microsoft 365 applications), Trello, JIRA, Bitbucket, as well as a wide range of collaboration software that facilitates collaboration between different sites.

Some of our customers refer to the L-One Outstaffing team as our “employees”. We are happy about that. That is our goal.
Valerie Dietsche, Customer Relationship Manager at L-One Systems, Darmstadt

Outsourcing and outstaffing projects usually involve the employment of teams working remotely. The outstaffing provider must secure the quality of the service delivered, always ensuring maximal  productivity. We at L-One System are aware of this and therefore call our outsourcing/outstaffing services “made in Germany”. For this reason, data protection, reliability, availability, and communication skills are key concepts, that our dedicated offshore team always implement. Our guideline and protocol structure assures  the implementation of these concepts.

To find out which of the two options, outsourcing, outstaffing, or a mixture of the two is right for you, we recommend that you arrange a meeting with one of our experts to find out what is best for you. Find out more about our services here.

Sources & Links

1= Software Sales in Germany 2007 to 2020:
Statista (in GER)
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How we work: Take a look at our case studies …

Case Study: Communication and Risk Warning by SMS

Crop field in East Africa with little plants in rows

Harvest and trade better

The digital advice service by agriBORA sends weather forecasts and agricultural cultivation tips. As a communication platform between cultivation and trade, the agriBORA app supports the food supply in East Africa. This way, the app helps smallholders to adapt their field management to the weather forecast or to protect themselves from pest plagues increasing their yields. L-One’s offshore team is developing the front end of the app, for the display of information and its input. The app sends messages via SMS and is used along the entire value chain between cultivation and distribution to exchange messages, from warnings to sales support.

The Kenyan Kizito Odhiambo has been living in Germany for 10 years, where he studied and founded the start-up agriBora. He is also a Global Learning Facilitator in the network Education Meets Development.

What is developed
With the agriBora app, the Kenyan Kizito Odhiambo has devised a digital tool for the small farmers and farmers in Kenya. The conditions there cannot be compared with those in Europe. The app enables an exchange between the farmers and distributes very helpful and sometimes necessary warnings, for example of approaching thunderstorms. Providing customers with agricultural data – forecasts, weather data, cultivation recommendations – is one component. The tool is also a sales platform. Farmers have a direct line to cooperatives, wholesalers, seed and fertiliser producers.

The app includes free and paid service offers. It also handles cashless transactions over the telephone. Communication takes place via integrated voice messages and SMS in English, Kiswahili and other regional languages such as Luo and Luyha.

From the very beginning there has been a clear division of labour. L-One took over the frontend development, agriBORA the backend.

»Unsere Lösung war nicht gut visualisiert und für den Kunden nicht griffig. Wir sind dafür nicht die Experten und haben auch nicht die Manpower. Wir sind froh das L-One die Oberfläche für uns implementiert«

Kizito Odhiambo, Gründer und Geschäftsführer von agriBORA

The agriBORA app informs farmers by text message in English or several national languages about approaching storms or pest infestations.

Field view from Satelite
The agriBORA app informs farmers by text message in English or several local languages about approaching storms or pest infestations.

The cooperation with the L-One team in Damascus

As development time was tight, Kizito Odhiambo initially had one thing in mind: “Thanks to the same tools used for communication, onboarding worked well and teamwork was straightforward from the start. All in all, it worked better than expected”.

Market in East Africa
The aim of the agriBORA app is to optimise harvests and improve communication in agriculture and trade.

»L-Ones Offshore Team unterstützt uns bei der Frontend-Entwicklung. Vorteil: Die Zeit- und Kostenersparnis. Und noch wichtiger: Wir können uns auf unsere Kernkompetenz konzentrieren.«

Kizito Odhiambo, Gründer und Geschäftsführer von agriBORA

Results, plans for the future
agriBORA gain a time advantage. The employees can concentrate on what they understand: Time for the customer, the product idea and programming in the backend environment. The implementation of the area visible to the users of our web applications, the frontend, is what L-One does. “We simply lacked the manpower for the frontend. The front-end that we now have appeals and provides solutions that we could never have implemented in this way,” concludes Kitzito Odhiambo.

With agriBora’s growth, the cooperation with L-One will soon be expanded. This means that the number of working hours and the number of offshore team members will be increased.

Further case studies and more about L- One:

Case study: Robot interface with improved kernel
Contact us: Are you planning an IT project? We will be happy to discuss it with you.
Homepage of the customer: agriBORA UG